In this article, which is an expanded and updated adaptation of the 2018 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport Presidential Address, I look at the challenges and opportunities presented to the field by the Sokal 2.0 hoax. Specifically, I look at issues of epistemology and politics as expressed in, and produced through, the field(s) of sport sociology, physical cultural studies, and critical studies in/of sport. I conclude with a discussion regarding how sport sociologists and scholars in related fields might look to form new associations as they continue to produce politically-meaningful scholarship and seek social justice and social equality there through.
Joshua I. Newman
Emma Kavanagh, Chelsea Litchfield and Jaquelyn Osborne
This study investigated gender-based violence targeting high-profile women in virtual environments through the case of women’s tennis. Using a netnographic approach and the lens of third-wave feminism, 2 popular social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) were analyzed to examine social commentary and fan interaction surrounding the top-5-seeded female tennis players during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Athletes were exposed to violent interactions in a number of ways. Four themes were identified through data analysis: threats of physical violence, sexualization that focused on the female physical appearance, sexualization that expressed desire and/or proposed physical or sexual contact, and sexualization that was vile, explicit, and threateningly violent in a sexual or misogynistic manner. Findings demonstrate how social media provides a space for unregulated gender-based cyberhate targeting high-profile women in their workplace in a way that traditional sport media does not.
Kari Stefansen, Gerd Marie Solstad, Åse Strandbu and Maria Hansen
In this paper, we use data from focus group interviews with young athletes to explore their thinking about coach-athlete sexual relationships (CASRs). Our aim is to further the understanding of the ambivalence surrounding CASRs in the sports field, which are simultaneously viewed as ethically problematic and acceptable—at least when they involve high-profile adult athletes. Inspired by Swidler’s toolkit approach to culture, we analyze how athletes understand and justify CASRs. We found that three different ethics were activated in the interviews: the safeguarding, love, and athletic-performance ethics. We discuss how these ethics are linked to different underlying “imaginaries,” or cultural frames, about the meaning of sport in society and offer thoughts on how the results can inform sporting organizations’ future prevention efforts.
Gareth J. Jones, Katie Misener, Per G. Svensson, Elizabeth Taylor and Moonsup Hyun
Interorganizational relationships are a well-established practice among nonprofit youth sport organizations seeking to acquire key resources and improve service efficiencies. However, less is known about how broader trends in the nonprofit sector influence their utilization. Guided by Austin’s collaborative continuum and resource dependency theory, this study analyzed how interorganizational relationships are utilized by different nonprofit youth sport organizations in one American context. The results indicate that high-resource organizations primarily utilize philanthropic and transactional forms of collaboration, whereas integrative collaboration is more likely among low-resource organizations. The discussion draws on resource dependency theory to provide theoretical insight into this association, as well as the implications for collaborative value generated through interorganizational relationships.
Alison Doherty and Graham Cuskelly
Using a multidimensional framework, the authors developed the Community Sport Capacity Scale to measure the key elements of capacity in community sport organizations or clubs and investigate their relative impact on three key indicators of club performance. Presidents or their representatives from 336 community sport organizations in 20 sports across the province of Ontario, Canada, completed the web-based survey measuring the extent of various elements of human resources, infrastructure, finance, planning, and external relationships capacity. The survey also measured club operations, programs, and community presence, identified as key performance outcomes. Controlling for club size, elements representing all five capacity dimensions were significantly associated with the outcomes. The findings highlight the rich information that may be generated from a multidimensional and context-specific perspective on organizational capacity, and indicate implications for building capacity in community sport organizations.
Matthew Katz, Aaron C. Mansfield and B. David Tyler
Sport management researchers have increasingly noted a relationship between sport spectatorship and well-being, with the line of inquiry predicated on transformative sport service research. In this study, the authors contribute to transformative sport service research by utilizing multilevel egocentric network analysis to examine the consumption networks of National Football League fans over the course of one season. The authors utilized a network theory approach to explore how emotional support is created and embedded within sport fans’ networks of interpersonal ties and social relationships. Through multilevel modeling, the authors highlighted how attributes of both the ego (i.e., focal actor) and alter (i.e., individual with whom ego shares a tie) affect emotional support. Previous studies of transformative sport service research and the link between well-being outcomes and sport spectatorship have implicitly examined only ego-level attributes (i.e., team identification), yet the present work suggests that emotional support depends on the interpersonal ties and network structures within which sport fans are embedded.
Glynn M. McGehee, Beth A. Cianfrone and Timothy Kellison
Sport organizations, the media, and the public frequently interact. Messages conveyed by organizations and the media likely impact both groups’ communication strategies to reach target audiences and control messaging. This triad of communication—team–media–public—is often examined in segments (e.g., media framing or public reaction to media), even though the three interact. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine differences in message themes and responses from all perspectives on a common topic. Following a major announcement from a professional sport organization, the researchers conducted a content analysis of communication from three perspectives: the team, local press, and citizens. The results showed that each of the three sources provided distinct, original content that became increasingly linked to that of the other sources over time. Sport practitioners could use the findings to better understand the influence of outside sources of communication and utilize social media in their public relations efforts.
Eric W. MacIntosh and Popi Sotiriadou
Through the lens of the theory of reasoned action and the framework of attraction, retention, transition, and nurturing of athletes, this study examined how athletes’ experiences at the Commonwealth Youth Games contributed to satisfaction with the event, while encouraging transition into higher levels of competition. A total of 244 athletes from 23 different countries who completed a survey helped identify the environment-related aspects that created positive and negative experiences. The participants noted that learning from various social and cultural experiences influenced their event satisfaction and their future intention to remain in high-performance sport. Aspects of the event service environment, including poor accommodation and nutrition, were found to negatively impact performance. This paper contributes to the role of pre-elite events as athletic development agents that aid in talent transition. The results have implications for event organizers and high-performance managers regarding the influence of athletes’ experiences on performances and intention to transition.